Portland’s compact downtown area offers the cultural buffet of a much larger city. Living in downtown Portland provides both convenient accessibility to the rest of the city and so much variety within its one square mile of concentration you may never need (or want) to leave.
Despite, not boasting an architectural icon like Seattle’s Space Needle or the Empire State Building in New York City, there are plenty of quirky landmarks that make Portland’s downtown area both memorable and unique.
The “White Stag Sign” named for its placement on the White Stag Building looks over the downtown sky. With incandescent bulbs forming the words Portland Oregon within the outline of the state. Take a walk over the Burnside Bridge to watch is sparkle at night.
The pepto-bismol pink boxes of Voodoo doughnuts can be spotted all over the city, but it’s the downtown location that can’t be missed. While residents will often argue that Blue Star is the better doughnut establishment, the Voodoo doughnut storefront with its pink exterior and giant twisted chandelier is a downtown icon in and of itself.
“City’s Living Room”
Powell’s the world’s largest independent book store takes up one whole block on Burnside Street. You can get lost for hours amongst the stacks or stop by and listen to a visiting writer speak.
Pioneer Square lies at the heart of downtown as a place to gather. Even more, nearby food trucks and people gather at this central location. The 40000 square feet of open space and steps are affectionately referred to as the city’s living room for its comfortable inviting nature.
These are just a few of the special spots that make downtown Portland memorable. Upon your first visit to the city dig deeper and discover the variety of neighborhoods, the hidden gem establishments and the impressive livability of Portland’s downtown area.
Bungalow style houses dominate much of Portland’s outer neighborhoods.. However, in the downtown portion of the city apartment buildings are increasing in number and height. In fact, Central Portland is the only area in the state where developers can build up to 300 feet. With the ever-increasing density of this city, developers are taking advantage of that option.
Who’s moving to Downtown Portland?
Roughly 11000 people call downtown Portland home. The median age of those residents is 38 and the average household net worth is $320134 and 70% of those people are married.
Cities tend to draw younger single professionals. As a result, one might assume that the most metropolitan area of a given city would reflect that trend. That isn’t so in Portland. In fact, the younger population gravitates to the outer neighborhoods likely motivated by older houses that offer cheaper rent.
However, newness of many downtown Portland apartments is attracting affluent crowds and families. Some of the top high schools in the city are based in downtown. Additionally, there are plenty of kid-friendly and educational attractions to keep your younger ones busy on the weekends. Including the Oregon Historical Society Portland Art Museum Oregon Children’s Theater and more.
Walkability & Great Food
Those who seek walkability and accessibility will love downtown Portland. Walking is the transportation of choice. Portland has 200 foot long blocks and a high concentration of amenities within one square mile. When you do need to reach the many other neighborhoods, the streetcar buses and light rail will get you just about anywhere you need to go.
If you’re a foodie who wants plenty of options then downtown Portland will not disappoint. Portland is known for its abundance of food trucks. The Alder pod at SW 10th & Alder is one of the city’s largest and its downtown location draws a rush of lunch-break workers from nearby office buildings. Luckily there are plenty of trucks to thin out the crowd. Nong’s Khao Man Gai is a local favorite serving up a chicken and rice dish that is simple and delicious.
Many businesses are based in downtown Portland. Those who work in the area are often drawn to the idea of living there too. Portland is known for some sticky traffic situations during rush hour traffic. Living and working in downtown Portland allows you to avoid that completely, while enjoying the energy of the city as it wakes up to a new day.
All types of people are drawn to downtown Portland. Due to living where culture thrives and eating options overwhelm. If the urban lifestyle is right for you, Portland’s compact and friendly downtown will meet your needs without overwhelming your nerves. It’s a unique downtown that strikes the perfect balance of lively and manageable.
Where to live
Options for urban living are expanding as real estate moves skyward in the Bridge City.
Downtown Portland refers to the area south of Burnside Avenue and east of I-405. However, several areas surrounding downtown are often lumped in with that same label. The Southwest Waterfront and The Pearl District offer the highest concentration of urban living opportunities outside of that one square mile. Though The Pearl District and the Southwest Waterfront are technically outside of downtown, they provide access and the amenities of urban living.
Many of the old warehouses in The Pearl District have been transformed into lofts with chic industrial appeal. Located just north of downtown, this upscale neighborhood includes high-rise condominiums and warehouse-converted lofts. However, are all unique spaces that reflect the neighborhood’s industrial past. This area has maintained a low skyline, but developers are now moving in with plans for taller buildings. Despite Portlanders who are not a fan of high rise living. Regardless, these high-rise buildings are coming and expanding the residential options for those looking to live in the area. Residents of The Pearl District enjoy the city’s highest concentration of breweries such as Bridgeport the city’s oldest brewery to the Ohio-based Fat Head’s.
Waterfront Living at it’s best
Just south of the downtown you’ll find the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood. With many high-rise apartment buildings, you might find yourself further from the ground here. However, you’ll be much closer to the water with riverfront access. The option to kayak or hop on a stand-up-paddleboard (SUP) is appealing to the many outdoor types who find themselves in Portland.
Southwest high-rises include Riva on the Park, Essex House, Harrison Tower. All will provide the higher-end amenities that many downtown dwellers seek.
Know Before You Commit
Are you ready for the downtown lifestyle? Portland’s downtown neighborhoods offer some excellent perks from accessibility to public transportation to the concentration of culture on. Nevertheless, downtown living is not a perfect fit for everyone.
Many downtown dwellers in Portland choose public transportation and walking. While you can find most things you need within walking distance, you have to enjoy being out and about in the city to take advantage of the downtown walkability.
Portland serves up a hefty portion of rainy days each year, While it’s rarely raining hard enough to need an umbrella, the Pacific Northwest drizzle doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re someone who is accustomed to driving from place to place or walking when the sun is shining this might take some adjustment.
Portland’s downtown is undeniably an exciting place to live! If you’re a city person who enjoys the energy and accessibility of a city center then living in downtown Portland is the place for you!